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5 Things to Know About… Kedushah at the Kosel

Leah Aharoni

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


When We Care, We Come 

Outer differences fall away when our values are at stake

Esther Hamalkah’s timeless call to gather all the Jews was almost palpable last Friday, as close to 20,000 people turned out for the Rosh Chodesh Adar Beis tefillah. Thousands of chareidi seminary students, girls from national-religious ulpanah high schools, and adult women from across Israel’s religious spectrum came together in a rare show of unity around a common goal — preserving the millennia of kedushah and mesorah at our holiest site.


2. Strength in Numbers

The sheer number of people prevented a dangerous precedent

Earlier this month, Women of the Wall demanded that the rabbi of the Kosel give them access to the Kosel public address system. Needless to say, having the WOW “chazzanit” publically lead the tefillah would have been a serious breach of halachah that would have prevented multitudes from davening. The presence of thousands of frum women averted that dangerous precedent.


3. True Justice?

The courts make a case for WOW

In recent months, the High Court of Justice and the Ministry of Justice have mounted increasing pressure on the rabbi of the Kosel, Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, to protect Women of the Wall and safeguard their provocations. Ahead of the Rosh Chodesh tefillah, Assistant Attorney General Erez Kaminitz sent a letter to the rabbi of the Kosel instructing him that Women of the Wall have a right to access the loudspeaker and that this does not breach “minhag hamakom.” Kaminitz further urged Rabbi Rabinowitz not to give anyone access to the public address system, so as to ensure “equality.”


4. When Ideals are Sacrificed to Equality 

A skewed sense of “equality” endangers our values and identity

Kaminitz’s ruling follows a growing and dangerous trend. The idea of “equality” between 150 politically motivated provocateurs and 20,000 traditional worshippers is both preposterous and ridiculous. Yet it is becoming the norm. Just last month, the Naamat Women’s Organization instructed the hundreds of day care centers under its auspices to discontinue the ever-popular “Shabbos mommy” and “Shabbos daddy” activities to protect the feelings of alternative “families.” Consideration for the feelings of a fringe group was deemed more important than the right of the tens of thousands of children to a strong Jewish and gender identity.

Likewise, earlier this year, the courts shut down municipal pools in the  overwhelmingly frum town of Kiryat Arba and in the Muslim city of Rahat, since both  pools provided exclusively separate-swimming schedules. Once again, the religious sensitivities of thousands were violated, in order to uphold the wishes of a handful of individuals.


5.  True Strength

Our women’s worth doesn’t hinge on adopting a male role

Looking at the thousands of women gathered at the Kosel on a short winter Friday, I couldn’t help but think of the historic nashim hatzovos. Chazal teach us that the forced labor, which Pharaoh had decreed upon the Jews in Egypt, included switching gender roles, with men doing women’s work, and vice versa. Today, Women of the Wall continue that line of thinking, preaching that the only way women can be worthy and equal is by doing what men do.

The Jewish People left Egypt in the merit of nashim tzadkaniyos, who continued raising families despite the decree to murder all newborn boys. In the desert, they crowded at the entrance to the Mishkan to offer their copper mirrors, symbolizing that mesirus nefesh. And Hashem proclaimed those mirrors to be the most precious of the offerings brought to the Mishkan. Now as then, thousands of frum women came out to our holiest site to uphold the kedushah of the Jewish People.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 752)


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